Waiting for the Cankle sisters to finish gabbing and get out of my way at the store today so I could finally pay for my lunch and get back to my desk, it occurred to me how life has sometimes found it necessary to get my attention in rather dramatic ways, in order that I realize the full extent of my good fortune such as, forgive me, with my children, whom I used as flashlights when they were small, as the sun has shone out of their asses since the day they were born.

I suspect I would have taken them for granted but they were both born quite prematurely so I am grateful not only for their intelligence and humor and talents, but for other things as well such as, they can walk. They can speak. They can dress themselves.

They can see.

Or our luck with teachers. Since they began going to school, all their teachers have been very good. Once each they had poor teachers for a short time, with the result that we appreciate the rest.

Beta had a teacher in 4th grade whom she corrected, in class, in the subjects of math and English. Not sure about the other subjects.

Gamma, in first grade, had a real knucklehead, known generally as The Mummy. She has another teacher now, in second grade, who impressed me greatly. She took her class – Gamma’s – and the Mummy took hers in a single bus to the zoo recently.

They split up once they got there, not sharing a common philosophy of zoo visits. The Mummy did what I would have done – marched the kids through the zoo in double rows, buddy system etc. Actually, I wouldn’t just have had them hold hands, I would have employed super glue.

Gamma’s teacher, you know what she did? She gave her class maps. Each kid got a map, man. Here are your maps, so you can’t get lost, she said. We’ll all meet back here in two hours.

And they all did.

5 responses to “maps

  1. TH

    Great teacher. *very* courageous teacher. One stubbed toe could probably get the teacher in bad trouble if they’re dealing with cantankerous parents.
    But definitely the better way to go to the zoo…

  2. I suspect that if an American teacher gave her kids maps and set them loose at the zoo, she’d be drawn-and-quartered in the media, fired summarily, and given a multimillion-dollar book deal and a guest shot on Oprah.

  3. mig

    It’s a really radical idea, isn’t it.

  4. Cripes! Do you mean to say that treating kids like responsible individuals may encourage their development into, dare I say it, responsible individuals? The geniuses who devised our No Education Beyond Standardized Testing Act may have to recruit their ex-business partners to research this phenomenon, then get lobbyists black out key passages in the report!

  5. Gordon

    I second Brian’s comment. Even though as a first-grader, I know we were let loose in the zoo on school trips. I don’t remember any maps, but I do remember a camel spitting on this one kid. His shirt looked like he’d been sprayed by a firehose, if firehoses sprayed mucus along with water. (That might be my answer to your “what’s the most impressive thing you’ve ever seen” question).

    Anyway, if I were a parent, that might freak me out a little now. Both the unsupervised zoo thing and the camel thing. And I don’t really think the zoo is a more dangerous place than it was 20 years ago.